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Appendix A

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Names of Individual notes of the Scale in Harmony:


The starting note of the scale is called the Key note, or Tonic.

The fifth note is called Dominant

The fourth note is called the Subdominant.

The 3rd is the Mediant,  the 6th is the sub mediant.

The 2nd is the supertonic and the 7th is the Leading note.

These are the names specific to harmony.


For clarity sake, when we say seconds, thirds, fourths etc, we mean the notes in an alphabetic order.   Thus  B, is second above A.   C is third above A.   E is third above C.  F is fourth above C.   D is fifth above C etc.

Qualifiers to Intervals:

In a major scale, as  seen on the stave, all the intervals of the different notes above the tonic,  are given special qualifiers.

Tonic to the Supertonic:  A major second    (3 chromatic keys)

Tonic to  the Mediant   A  major third.  (5 chromatic keys)

Tonic to the Subdominant: A perfect fourth.  (6 chromatic keys)

Tonic to the Dominant - A perfect fifth.   (8 chromatic keys)

Tonic to the Sub Mediant - A major sixth    (10 chromatic c keys)

Tonic to the Leading Note - a Major seventh.  (12 chromatic keys).

If any of these intervals is lowered by a "chromatic semitone" which does not alter its position on the degree, then a Major becomes a Minor and a  Minor becomes a diminished,  and a Perfect becomes a diminished.

If any of these intervals is raised a chromatic semitone, the Minors become Major, Majors become augmented.  Perfect become augmented.

Thus  C  E  G#  is called an augmented chord.     (It has an augmented fifth instead of a perfect fifth).  C  E  G  B, is called a major seventh of C.     C  E  G  Bflat  is a C7 (Bflat  is a minor seventh above the root).


In every major scale, the first, Tonic, the fourth Subdominant, and the fifth, Dominant are ROOTS of Primary Major Chords.

The second, Supertonic, the third, Mediant and the sixth Sub-mediant are  ROOTS of Secondary minor chords.  A suffix 'm' has to be written after the note name.

The Chord on the seventh (Leading Note) is always a diminished chord.


In a Major Chord the distance from the  first note, called the ROOT  to the third name above/after it, which is called the  THIRD  ABOVE THE ROOT  has five chromatic keys between them.   C, C#,D,D#,E

The distance from Root  to the top note (which is A FIFTH ABOVE THE ROOT  (because it is the fifth name after the root) has 8 chromatic keys between them. (C,C#,D,D#,E,F,F#,G)


Major Thirds

Distance between a key and the third above it, having 5 chromatic keys between them is called A MAJOR THIRD.   

When there are 4 chromatic keys, it is called a MINOR THIRD.



Perfect Fifths

Distance between a key and the key bearing  the fifth name above or after it, having 8 chromatic keys between them is called  A  PERFECT FIFTH.     Thus: C C# D D# E F F# G


A  Major Chord has a major third, and a perfect fifth  above the root

A  “Dominant seventh chord”  is a Major chord, with a minor third above the fifth.  This note is seventh from the root.   Such a 7th having 11 chromatic keys between the root and the seventh is called a minor seventh.  

A major seventh has 12 keys, like C to B.

Thus the Chord Cmaj7 means: C  major Chord, plus the major 7th above the root.


The Chords over the Tonic, Dominant and Subdominant are all Major Chords.

The Dominant Seventh has  an additional 4th note, which is a minor 7th from  the root.

The Minor Chords

fThe Chords of the Supertonic, Mediant and Submediant are Minor chords.



The Chord of the Leading Note:

The third above the root is a minor third.

The fifth name above the root, has in this case only 7 keys between them, hence this fifth is called a diminished fifth.  

A Diminished Chord

A chord having a minor third  and  a diminished fifth  above the root is called a diminished chord.

In a transposed scale, i.e. having  sharps and flats, and tonics other than  C, (as given in the above lists),  follow the above patterns.   That is why  in every scale, whether it be the Natural Scale of C, or the sharps and flats scales, the harmony names are common.   They always have the first chord as the tonic, the chord on the fourth note is the subdominant, etc.

The Augmented Chord"

An augmented fifth has 9 chromatic semitones between the Root, and the fifth name above it.    If C is the root, the fifth name above it is G.  In order to get 9 chromatic keys, we should mark G as G#.   Thus the Chord has a Major 3rd, and an augmented fifth.

Practically, every note of the keyboard can be made into a Major or Minor Chord, a diminished or Augmented Chord.

Thus the chords on C, can be C, Cm, Cdim, and C+.   Added to this we can have C7 (with a minor 7th) and a C maj7.   Not all these chords belong to the  C major scale.  Some are used in other scales, and  during Modulation (i.e. move over from one Key to another nearly related key) we might use some of these chords.   Also, they may be used as transition chords.

How to interpret Chord Names:


·        If the name is a capital letter, then the Chord is Major Chord of the note represented by the Capital letter.   It is the root.

·        If there is a small letter 'm' after a Capital letter, then it is a Minor Chord of the note represented by the Capital letter.

·        If you find a 7 after a capital letter: i.e. G7, it is to be understood as the Chord of the Seventh - G major chord, (or any major chord) plus the key  which is the 7th name above the root, but having 11 chromatic keys between them (a minor 7th).   You will also note that the 7th note above the root, is a minor third above the fifth of the major chord.

·        When you find 'maj7' after a capital letter, it means a Major chord and the 7th note above to root, which is 12 chromatic notes above it (also known as major 7th).

·        When '6' is written after a capital letter, it means the major chord of that name, and next note, which should be a tone above the fifth. Thus C6, means C E G and A.   (Basically, it is same as Amin7  which means  A minor chord and the 7th key above the root, which is G. which is the 11th chromatic key above the root, and in the first inversion.  However, some music writers prefer to express this chord this way.

·        Sus4 is a Root 4th and 5th.  The 4th moves eventually to the 3rd, and is known as suspension.

·        The word 'dim'  or a degree sign ° after a capital name, means: a minor third above the root, and a diminished fifth (which is 7 chromatic semitones from the root), above it.   The names should always be root, the third name after it, and the fifth name after that.  Thus  E° or E dim means: E, the minor third above it = G and a diminished fifth above  E.   The fifth name above E is B.  It is a perfect fifth.  To make it diminished, you have to mark it B flat. (Not A sharp though physically it is same - theoretical reasons demand that you name your chord correctly.   When you add a 7th above a diminished chord,  you may say: Edim7 - I have seen another composer use the term Em7b5, what he means I suppose, is the fifth is to be flattened, which is same as E diminished, with 7th above the root.   Thus various composers, may use terms which have to be interpreted to the best of your ability.   In any case, any given tune, can be harmonized with the Primary Chords, but the additional variations are meant to give variety.   Some times, it is the exhibition of the composer of his knowledge of chords.   It is similar to a Chef, who uses all the ingredients he has, just because he has them.

·        An Augmented Chord sometimes is shown with a plus sign after the capital name.  A diminished chord may also be shown  with a -5 after the capital name.

In classical harmony, use of passing notes and auxiliary notes was permitted, and though they were not part of the chord,  may be  modern day  music writers want to create chords out of passing notes as well.   Remember, the best and memorable melodies of all time, have been the simple ones.   Even a person like Beethoven did not shy away from using simple themes.   Mozart  is said to have been the one who created the tune for the Nursery Song: A B C D !

Harmonizing  Melodies

Every melody can be harmonized with the Primary Chords, which contain all the notes of the scale.   Two chords, i.e. I and IV have the Tonic in both of them.   In the same way,  I and V, have the Dominant in both of them.  In IV and V7, the subdominant is common.   The choice of the chords depends on your personal instinct, and after completing this course, you will be expected to develop it.  

As a general rule, if the music is slow, you may change the chord.  If it is fast, then keep the same chord, when the melody contains the notes of the same chord.   Follow your aesthetic sense.

When secondary chords are used, you will note that every note of the scale has three chords, and you may put some secondary chords for variety. This too will come with experience.

Chords to choose from

·         Tonic               I           IV         vi

·         Supertonic       ii           V/V7     vii dim

·         Mediant           I            iii          vi

·         Subdominant   IV         ii           vii dim       V7

·         Dominant        V/V7     iii          I

·         Submediant     vi          IV         ii

·         Leading Note   vii dim  V/V7     iii         

























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